Scabies in the developing world—its prevalence, complications, and management


Corresponding author: R. J. Hay, The International Foundation for Dermatology, Willan House, 4 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5HQ, UK


Clin Microbiol Infect 2012; 18: 313–323


Scabies remains one of the commonest of skin diseases seen in developing countries. Although its distribution is subject to a cycle of infection, with peaks and troughs of disease prevalence, this periodicity is often less obvious in poor communities. Scabies is a condition that affects families, particularly the most vulnerable; it also has the greatest impact on young children. Largely through the association with secondary bacterial infection caused by group A streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus, the burden of disease is compounded by nephritis, rheumatic fever and sepsis in developing countries. However, with a few notable exceptions, it remains largely neglected as an important public health problem. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the current position of scabies with regard to its complications and control in resource-poor countries.